EN 220 Week 10 Notes
EN 220 Week 10 Notes EN 220
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This 2 page Class Notes was uploaded by Rhiannon Hein on Friday April 1, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to EN 220 at University of Alabama - Tuscaloosa taught by Dr. Christopher Love in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 7 views. For similar materials see Honors American Literature II in Foreign Language at University of Alabama - Tuscaloosa.
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Date Created: 04/01/16
Absalom, Absalom! Day 4 Notes I. Charles Bon and race a. Faulkner explores the nature of racial identity—it’s not enough to look at racial separation. b. What role does race play in identity, how does race get defined? i. You get the historical, legalistic definition in which Sutpen is working. ii. Charles Bon contradicts this by explaining how it’s not such a big deal in the south. 1. This allows the reader to see the construction of race versus the reality of it. II. Shreve a. Shreve comes in as an outsider who’s trying to get Quentin to explain the South. b. How do you explain the south to someone who’s an outsider? i. Most of Faulkner’s works are an attempt to explain southern identity. 1. As much as Faulkner is a modernist, he’s a regionalist as well. III. Southern identity a. The frame of this novel, but takes center stage with Shreve here to help the reader understand what Quentin is up against i. How do you explain the south to someone who isn’t from there? b. What is Quentin’s struggle in regards to southern identity and regional identity? i. That his southern identity is inextricable from his personal identity. ii. He now has to accept or reject this identity. 1. Can he even reject this identity if he tried? iii. There are behaviors and stereotypes associated with southern identity that he might not want to accept 1. Shreve accuses him of incest, of backwardness, of stupidity (“why do people live there at all”). iv. If you identify as a southerner, it projects the way people will interpret who you are and what you believe in. 1. Quentin doesn’t want to be seen as a southerner IV. Sutpen’s corruption a. Sutpen takes advantage of society’s corruption, and in so doing, corrupts himself. i. He doesn’t make the rules, but he plays by them, and can’t escape the world he was brought up in. b. “Society’s corruption” being specific to the caste system of the south. c. Sutpen uses the women to complete the design. i. Women are vessels to enact his plans because of what society has made them. ii. In a patriarchal game, women are used at pawns and their ability to resist that it is limited. iii. Over time, Sutpen chooses younger and younger women of degrading social classes. 1. These are the only women that are left for him. He’s left with the remnants of his design, what’s left is Milly—white trash. 2. Now, almost any woman will do. d. What he says to Rosa makes it clear that he’s using them as pawns. e. Sutpen justifies all of his actions—treating women as pawns—because he’s playing by the rules that society has set up for him. i. He didn’t create the rules, but he’s playing by them, and so he’s excused from all of the apparent immorality in the society. V. Sutpen discovers that his first wife has an eighth African American blood, which legally wouldn’t do for Sutpen’s plans. a. This is why he leaves her and his son. VI. Charles’ Bon’s son a. He tries to denounce his white heritage and pronounce his black heritage, he tries to find a place among one race while realizing he really has no place among either. b. He marries a backwoods black woman who doesn’t even know how to read i. This demonstrates an extreme, he’s trying to prove to people who he is and where he belongs c. His character demonstrates how significant race is in determining identity i. He’s a person between identities, he belongs nowhere and this explains why he would’ve lashed out at the black dance party. d. In some ways, Charles Bon’s son’s identity crisis mirrors Quentin’s. VII. Story about father and sons a. Quentin compares Mr Compson to Shreve because Shreve is forcing him to tell that story again and again. i. Shreve, like Mr Compson, wants Quentin to put the pieces of the puzzle together. ii. he forces Quentin to think about it and to realize the influence it plays upon him and it’s importance. iii. Mr Compson and Shreve both force Quentin to realize his southern and family identity and the burden this places upon him 1. The burden of history
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